Your hard drive is where your Operating System, programs, apps, documents and other data are all stored. Storage capacity is important, but don’t neglect speed. Solid state drives have come down in price significantly over the past few years, making the performance advantages they offer a no brainer. Read on to learn more about choosing the right hard drives for your new trading computer.
SSD vs HDD what’s the difference and what to choose?
Traditional hard drives (referred to as HDD, spinning drives, or mechanical drives) store data on a spinning magnetic disk. The faster the spin, the quicker it can access data, load programs, etc. Now think of solid state drives like a large amount of flash memory, similar to a USB drive or MP3 player’s storage. Without the RPM speed to limit it or the moving parts to break, SSD’s offer read speeds around 500MBps, or 5-6 times the speed of HDDs, and do it more reliably. SSDs are still more expensive per GB but the performance improvements are very worth it. If budget is a concern, we recommend combining an SSD with an HDD configured as two separate drives. Your OS and programs go on the SSD, while pictures, video, and other data can live on the slower HDD to give you the best of both worlds.
Creating a hard drive RAID means joining two identical hard drives to allow them to work together. The most common type is a RAID 0, essentially a performance RAID which doubles the speed and capacity of the two drives into what Windows will see as a single drive. RAID 0 is most commonly used in enthusiast builds, but the faster read/write speeds would certainly be beneficial to trading applications. Another form of RAID is the RAID 1, or RAID Mirror. In this configuration, one of the two drives replicates the data stored on the other drive to create automatic redundancy. This gives you a backup for all of your files, but the capacity of only a single drive.
Make sure you have enough storage capacity
For most trading computers, a single smallish SSD of 250GB will be sufficient. But if your PC will also double as the family PC, make sure you have enough secondary storage space for picture and videos. With 20-25GB occupied by Windows and some software installs running 10+GB each, a 250GB drive may not leave enough headroom for that storage. Make sure you choose storage capacity accordingly.
PCIe NVMe drives
All of the drive configurations described above connect with a SATA interface. But even the latest version of SATA has speed limitations. Enter the latest innovation in hard drive tech – the PCIe NVMe drive. By connecting directly to the PCIe slot, these drives bypass the SATA bottleneck to provide read speeds up to a whopping 2,500MBps – that’s 5x over standard SSDs and around 25x over HDDs. This blistering speed may be overkill for everyday use, but for trading computers, can mean the difference between a winning and losing.